Tag Archive | series

The Start of Something Good, Stay Book 1, Jennifer Probst

The Start of Something Good, Stay Book 1, Jennifer Probst

The Start of Something Good (Stay Book 1) by [Probst, Jennifer]

Genre:  General Fiction ( adult), Romance

I’ve read and enjoyed several of Jennifer’s stories now, had one that didn’t fit and sadly this one makes two. I just didn’t like Mia right from the start. Her ideals are solid and to be admired but her nature, well, she came over as arrogant, obsessed over appearances, self important, impatient of others, a totally dislikeable, unsympathetic character and for me that’s a huge problem. I got to 35% and ended skim reading the rest as I was just so cross with her.

The characters as a whole didn’t feel real to me, very stereotypical, and false, from Ethan and his family to the people who stayed at the B&B. As for Chloe – she’s 19 for heavens sake, why isn’t she being made to take responsibility for her actions, why does she need Mia there as some kind of baby sitter. She’s an adult but acted like she was 13 and was treated that way, and it really irritated me. At 19 I was married and had my first child, and no way would I have expected my parents to act as Chloe’s dad did, I was treated as an adult and acted as one, that’s how it should be.
Sadly those issues overrode the whole romance for me and made the book a fail.

Stars: Two, sadly a fail for me but of course others feel very differently. Subjective taste books…we’ll never all agree.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

 

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Part-Time Husband, Trophy Husbands Book 1, Noelle Adams

Part-Time Husband, Trophy Husbands Book 1,  Noelle Adams

Part-Time Husband (Trophy Husbands Book 1) by [Adams, Noelle]

Genre: Women’s fiction, Romance

Once more, Women’s fiction. Why? Why do we try to cut out a whole section of readers, who says men don’t read romance 😦

So, this was a fun read, predicable but that’s fine. Sometimes its the actions, the characters that count and it doesn’t matter you can see where the story is going.
I liked Trevor, he is very sure of himself but not in an obnoxious way IMO, just very, very confident of himself and his abilities.
Melissa is a sweet woman, but I felt her determination to stay in the job she has partly because she loves it, has worked for it and of course loves her grandfather was understandable but to marry someone? Somehow that was a step to far for me. Still, she did it and it wasn’t long before feelings – on both sides – crept in.

Her grandfather, she says he loves them, he’s brought her and her sisters up but I found him to be an overbearing, misogynistic old man. I really can’t see how anyone who loved his family could take the decisions he did.

The story is sweet, plays out as expected, and was an easy read. No great dramas, just some hot and steamy sex, strong personalities, and an ending we can see coming….

Stars: Three and a half, its better than just a three/good read but not quite up to a four for me. If you can put aside a grandfather who pushes his family round like pawns, then its a cute, sweet romance, with some serious sensual scenes to liven it up, and an easy one to take on holiday to relax with.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Making Up, Lucy Parker

Making Up,  Lucy Parker

Making Up (London Celebrities) by [Parker, Lucy]

Genre: Romance

I loved the previous book, Pretty Face, and have just put the first one on my kindle. Somehow despite my intentions I missed it….In this book the characters from the earlier reads are here but the books are each stand alone stories, so its not necessary to have read the others, but is fun to catch up with them if you have.

Leo and Trix are the best of enemies, have been since they were teens and in the small theatrical world they inhabit their paths cross now and then. Each time the wit gets sharper and more caustic and to outward appearances they hate each other. Love and Hate though – two sides of the same coin the saying says…

Trix and Leo are now part of the same production, and as if that’s not enough Leo is her new housemate. ( and yes, Lucy described the aroma of a house of males perfectly!) Thrown so close together they see that the other is not quite the person their imaginations have constructed. To add to their confusion that spark that’s always made them snark and b itch at each other now has them in the grip of a sensual attraction, and they find that actually the person in their imaginations isn’t actually the real character, that the grudges they’ve been bearing are based on a flawed premise, misunderstandings, teen issues and angst.

Now they’re together that attraction is visceral, tantalising, a sensual searing that has them making out at every opportunity as if to make up for those lost years, unable to keep their hands off each other. There are some well done, heated scenes that aren’t OTT but fit perfectly the characters they are.

Its not a route to HEA though, both of them have some serious issues from past and present to contend with, and of course though their career fields match up sometimes, at others they could be not just hundreds of miles apart but whole countries. Can they work things out or are they doomed to fail?

Well, its a great fun journey finding out, full of love and angst, real issues that we have, fears and families, all the things that make life so real made these characters and their problems feel alive to me.

Stars: Five, a great fun read, and a terrific follow up books. It was good to catch up with characters from the last book, and finally book one is on my kindle waiting for time to be read…..

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Hedging His Bets, Laura Carter

Hedging His Bets,  Laura Carter

Hedging His Bets (Brits in Manhattan) by [Carter, Laura]

Genre: Romance

My first Laura Carter read. I enjoyed her writing style, characters that felt real, that I could believe in but…I didn’t Love this story. Liked it but there were a few things that just seemed weird to me. One time early in the book Jake and Jess are laughing about when Jake bought Emily a toilet roll as a present as – in her words – “there were a few times I sh it the bed” WTF? That’s supposed to be funny? Maybe we Brits have a different sense of humour…Then later he’s reminiscing “last time Emily kissed me like that I was making love to her. It was seven years ago” but they only split up three years ago, so does that mean for four years they didn’t kiss deeply?
I kind of felt a bit ambivalent too about Jess reasons for not wanting commitment, didn’t feel a really good reason, though I understood it was upsetting for her. Still, that could be just me.
I really wanted Emily to be a b itch, to try to cause problems, to provide some real angst, jealousy, that kind of thing but she’s not, she actually a sweet girl. It all works out well for everyone with a little drama at the end but I would have loved Emily to have been other than she was – again, a personal preference. I love romances that have some really nasty characters, makes the good one and the success of them over the nasties so much sweeter.
There was lots I did enjoy, the banter between the characters, the descriptions of their BBQs and how they all spent time together. I liked Marty too, one of the nasties… 🙂 if only Emily was too….It was an easy read, with events flowing well into one another and the sex between Jake and Jess was seriously hot, balanced well with the story. Sometimes the sex overtakes the story in some reads and that never works for me. Here it was just perfect though.

Stars: Three and a half, a decent read but not one that kept me gripped to the page, not one I’d re-read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Away, Book 1 of the Folk Trilogy, Meg Benjamin

Away, Book 1 of the Folk Trilogy,  Meg Benjamin

Away (The Folk Trilogy Book 1) by [Benjamin, Meg]

Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy.

I’ve never read any of Meg’s books before so I didn’t know what to expect. I really enjoyed this story, and look forward to reading more in the series.
I did get a little confused in the beginning by who was who and how they fitted into the story, there are a lot of different supernatural groups, and they integrate differently. It took me a while to work out just how they all fit together. Maybe a glossary of characters would be helpful? Explaining things like the difference between the Ward and the Guard when at first they both seemed to me to be doing the same thing. I certainly didn’t guess who was behind things, and I love a story that catches me out like that.
I found the characters pretty realistic, even fantasy folk have to feel real to me. I liked Grim, liked his determination to do what was right, when it was needed, to find out the truth, not just do a supernatural cover-up from the humans thing. Annie was great too, and her story very plausible.
First books in a series have a difficult task, introducing a new world and characters while delivering an interesting story. This book does that pretty well I feel, could have had a little more depth and drama but that’s me…I love drama. Its not heart stopping romance, nor edge of seat scariness, but a fun read, and a world I want to read more from.

Stars: Four, an excellent start and I’ll look out for book two.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Escape to the Country, A perfect feel-good read to escape with, Alison Sherlock

Escape to the Country, A perfect feel-good read to escape with, Alison Sherlock

Escape to the Country: A perfect feel-good read to escape with... (Welcome to Willow Tree Hall) by [Sherlock, Alison]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

well, if you’re looking for a light and happy holiday read this fits the bill. As always the celebrity aspect caught my eye – I do love the drama that comes in celebrity stories.It was pretty muted here though, Tom is very understated as a singer/songwriter, not a fame chaser but one of those guys who loves the music and songs, and who fame found him, he didn’t seek it.

He’s just finished a grueling tour and is at his managers home, in a typical quiet English village. I really liked Tom, felt for him as a child, he’d had it tough and as always what happens to us does shape us. He sees manager Sam, happily settled, with his family around him and can’t help but feel he’d love that. Its just him though, the only family who ever cared for him, his lovely Nan, has died recently and he feels her loss keenly.

Along comes Eleanor, Celeb journalist who’s career has hit a bad patch. Actually its been an eight year patch, this isn’t what she envisaged, seeking stories out of dross and other peoples unhappiness. It was supposed to be a stepping stone to more but..,.and now even that’s gone so she’s home, helping her mum, licking her wounds and realising just what a bad friend she’s been to her two long time besties.

You can see that Tom plus Eleanor at some point is going to explode but it did in a way I really didn’t expect, and that was fun. I like to be caught out, like plots to take an unusual, unseen line.

Its got some great characters, and I’m off to seek out book one where it all started. It made for a fun read, not deep dark drama but some lighthearted smiles, and some sad parts that made me feel for the characters.

Stars: Four, a great fun read, perfect to take on holiday or to lose yourself for a few hours.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

Chaser,  Kylie Scott

Chaser,  Kylie Scott

Chaser (Dive Bar Book 3) by [Scott, Kylie]

Genre:  Erotica, romance

I adored the Stage dive books, and the first two in the Dive Bar series. Whats great is that it feels like meeting old friends, the Dive Bar gang are all close, a mix of family and friends and the Stage Dive families take a step into these books. Its great to catch up with them too.
When a new scene opens with “yeah, but who is your favourite in the band? Its me, right? It’s OK to be honest, I deal well with adulation” it can only be one person talking, the wonderful Mal of course. All the characters are written so well, and each have their own “voice”, their own characteristics that make them stand out even from just an anonymous sentence. Its a tribute to Kylie that she can still do that with each character even though the cast list has grown so much.
Anyway, this book, fabulous as ever. Its starring Eric, and new resident Jean. I love Eric, he’s just on the right side of man-whore, he’s pen to almost anything and anyone, so good-looking he has scores of ladies ready for a night with him and he’s always open, for him its all about A Good Time not a Long Time. He lets everyone know that and now that he’s thinking maybe that life is a bit tired, shallow, maybe its time for more its jumping back at him. Nell, she’s his biggest critic but no-one seems to feel he can be a relationship person, that he’s capable of giving more than just the odd, casual night. Poor Eric, I did feel for him. He really could have been they type I dislike, arrogant, always ready with the chat up, always looking for the next sex partner, and yet he’s also a gentleman, helpful, courteous and very genuine. I found myself liking him, even though from earlier reads I had him pegged as a bit of a jerk. The Nell issue, the ending of the last book, had him written like that for me and yet here when its dealt with I found myself sympathising with him. At first I thought the gap and consequences was a bit of a cop out ( talking circles trying not to give anything away) but as the story continued I could see how it added yet another dimension to the puzzle that is Eric.
I write at the end of my review of the last book, Twist “I’m really looking forward to the next story, and at some point to what/how Kylie is going to do/deal with Eric. How can she make this overconfident, ar sehole, this selfish, immature guy into one we readers will like? But I have no doubt through her magical writing she’ll do it 😉 “ Well, she did it, I love Eric, loved seeing him grow, change, loved seeing why he was the way he was, that there was another deeper side to him. I adore his almost-on-the-edge-of-panic actions, his way of protecting those he loves, looking out for others, just loved seeing the Real Eric, not the cameo we had so far.

So who’s next I wonder? I’d really like to back track a bit and see what went on with Pat and Nell, and then get up to date with them. Or there’s Andre, silver fox and all round good guy. Whoever it is I’ll be queuing up to read about them.
These stories are true keepers for me, ones I love to reread.

Stars: Five, a fantastic read, light but with depth, humorous but with a series side, and reading it was like being with old friends again.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits,  Susie Tate

Limits by [Tate, Susie]

Genre: Romance

I loved book one in this series and Millie and Pav both feature there as secondary characters. Rosie, Jamie and Libby from that book are secondary characters here along with the vivacious Kira.

Millie is painfully isolated, has a real social issue among her other problems. Seems she was a child genius, pushed by ambitious political parents into schooling way ahead of her years and peers. She never learned to mix with others as a result. Her parents were bullies in other ways too, sapping at her fragile self esteem and now she’s an incredible medical personnel trapped in a job way below her skills officially but where they are recognised and valued so unofficially she does all the work a consultant would do. She’s been having therapy but is a long way from being who she wants to be. She’s trapped in her own self limits.

Pav is her total opposite but by a series of incidences begins to see Millie isn’t the person he nicknamed Nuclear Winter. Millie envies him, is attracted to him but knows he, like the rest of the staff apart from Libby and her colleague Don, would never want to even be friends with her, let alone more. And then things change. To begin Pav does have an ulterior motive, but he very soon sees Millie isn’t stand offish, isn’t looking down on others but plain terrified. After an incident leads to her totally falling apart in front of other staff he sees beyond her facade, and tries to help. Libby too and the irrepressible Rosie, work on bring Millie forward, helping her get past those limits.

I so felt for Millie. Social anxiety is genuine, many of us have issues where the thought of meeting others has us in a sweat, hearts racing, blood pulsing, just knowing that we don’t have that easy connection, that simple conversation is anything but, that trying to talk to someone unknown will result in the usual brain jelly and lack of speech. Millie’s reactions are way beyond most though, and the way Susie gradually brings her forward, showing us how the CBT, the people she depends on, the gradual widening of those she can trust bring her forward is wonderful to read and felt so very real.
I loved Pav, he saw beyond the obvious to the gem that was Millie, and its was a treat to read this romance. When he spoke to Millie’s parents I was cheering him. Its a great read, I loved seeing the familiar characters from book one, loved seeing just how difficult Millie found things others breeze past, loved how Pav’s family changed when they got to know the real Millie.

The epilogue too was just perfect. Just enough to let us see how things would work out, but not enough to feel the story gets past the interesting part.

Stars: Five, a great fun read, and a terrific follow up.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

The City of Brass,  S. A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass,  S. A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass by [Chakraborty, S. A.]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

I was so excited to get this book, I’d read the amazon sample and it seemed a fun and unusual read. Thankfully there’s a glossary included because its full of new and curious people and creatures.
I loved the world the author has created, I could feel the heat, the hustle and bustle and that was really well done. I liked the different beings too, felt very magical, almost reminded me of the old Sinbad et al films my kids used to love.
I started off liking Nahri, but as the story grew she seemed to lose that spark of independence, that charisma that drew me to her, and by the second half just seemed a whiny girl. I loved Dara, honest in as far as a Daeva is honest, like so many of their type they often circumvent the truth and talk in riddles almost. It’s clear he doesn’t like Nahri, and they scratch up against one another, both full of distrust. Nahri has no choice though, you can’t go home as they say, so she has to go forward with him. She also wants to know more about her past, and hopefully a better future. When we first meet him Dara seems jaded, tired of his life, of all the things he’s done, many of which weigh heavily on him. He seems to view taking Nahri as a chore almost, something he has to do but doesn’t want to. Then we meet Ali, second son of the king. I wanted to like him but though he seemed to have a good heart he was very naive for his position and I didn’t see him as being a strong character when it was needed, in contrast to Dara who would do what was needed without hesitation. Ali didn’t like the way things were run, could have stopped up, could have tried to right things but seemed too apathetic really, content to fund small changes and quiet his conscience that way.
The story though seemed to meander, little interludes of drama breaking it, but I never really understood the point, didn’t see where it was going, what was the aim. It just seemed to drift, Dara, Nehru and Ali seemed to react only to events, never had any real plans, were never working towards a purpose, it felt like they were just drifting towards the city, fighting through minor mishaps and skirmishes but no actual plan other than to get there. I couldn’t help feeling “and then what will they do?”
Then the ending – and to be fair I skim read from about 40% as I was bored but wanted to see how it ended. I hate it when that happens, when someone major is lost, and I just have the horrible feeling that its going to be one of those rabbit out of the hat successes, where that character isn’t lost, returns despite all appearances, and I just don’t like that. (Think Dallas in the early 1980’s for those of you old enough to remember!) I didn’t want them to go, but hate that kind of comeback. I’m sort of talking in riddles here, but trying not to give anything away as of course there are many readers for whom this is the perfect novel. Sadly I’m not one of them. With a few changes I could have loved this, more direction and planning, some shaping of key characters, it’s so full of potential, such a unique and fascinating world, but as it is is a series I’ll pass.

Stars: Two and a half. So much I could have loved, but the story itself let it down.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Pengarron Land, by Gloria Cook

Pengarron Land, by Gloria Cook

 

Pengarron Land (Pengarron Sagas Book 1) by [Cook, Gloria]

 

Genre:  General fiction (adult), Historical fiction.

I fell in love with historical Cornwall after the BBC drama back in the 70’s led me to reading all the Winston Graham novels. Many times! I hoped this series would be along those lines but sadly though there are similarities the story itself was too bland and uneventful for me.

It starts well, lots of promise but I was expecting the Poldark level of drama and it isn’t here. There is drama but its very slight, easily over and everyone is so -well- Nice. Kerensa is nice, Oliver is nice, Beatrice starts off being harsh to Kerensa but…she’s soon nice too,. Throw in others from the upper classes who welcome Kerensa (!), the villagers who are mostly happy for her, the wise but open minded vicar, the shopkeepers….you get it. Everyone is so Nice. Clem is to start with too but turns nasty, but even his jealousy has a stunted edge, he never really does much except moan and wallow in self pity.
Its not a bad book, felt very true to the period but I need more going on, more real drama, jealousy, angst, a bigger divide where Oliver marrying Kerensa would have caused a huge rift in society as it did in Poldark. I didn’t really understand why he married her, Tom was greedy enough that he’d have sold the land anyway, and Oliver could have fond a more suitable to his position wife than Kerensa. He’d barely noticed her so its not like he felt one look and he had to have her. Knowing she was already set to marry Clem he’s not the kind of guy who’d go against that just on a whim so his determination to marry her didn’t really work for me.

The Poldark echoes don’t really do this any favours, Oliver doesn’t have the charisma of Ross, Kerensa is sweet but doesn’t have Demelza’s sharp wit and determination, Beatrice has shades of Trudy, but without Jud it doesn’t really work. There’s a kiddley run by a widow, the miners and their hard lives, wrecks on the shore and smuggling, even a Rosina with a bad leg but somehow it all feels so pallid.
I expected Oliver’s contemporaries to be shocked, to be rude to Kerensa, for Clem to do more than wander round whinging, for the vicar to be spouting fire and brimstone, for the shopkeepers to be avaricious etc. Instead I read a novel that was probably far more true to the time period, but much less fun to read.
Its not a book I could dislike, its perfectly well written, just didn’t have the excitement and drama the Poldark connection gave me to expect.

Stars: Three, a story I had high hopes for but which ultimately was just an OK read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

 

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